Sacramento Bee, 7/22/2010
A federal judge Wednesday blocked Sacramento County from cutting mental health services as a way to balance the budget, ruling the proposed changes violate the federal law that protects disabled Americans.
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez found that the county's plan, which would shift thousands of county patients from community outpatient programs that have served them for years, would cause "catastrophic harm" and violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ruling was a victory for disability rights lawyers who filed a lawsuit challenging the cuts, and followed a highly unusual decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to weigh in on the case. Justice Department lawyers, in a statement filed Wednesday morning, agreed that the cuts would violate constitutional law and urged Mendez to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the county's plan.